Troubling Trend: Antidepressants Prescribed for No Psychiatric Reason
A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry suggests that more than a quarter of Americans taking antidepressants have never been diagnosed with the conditions the drugs are designed to treat. Researchers collected data from the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiologic Survey, which includes more than 20,000 adults interviewed between 2001 and 2003.
About one in ten people reported that they had been taking antidepressants for the past year. A quarter of them had not been diagnosed with conditions for which antidepressants are usually prescribed, such as anxiety disorder or major depression. Study participants taking antidepressants without
The findings raise questions about whether antidepressants are appropriately prescribed to the majority of patients who take them. Researchers concluded that antidepressant use without proper clinical diagnosis is common, and typically motivated by other of need (classified as hospitalization, disability, traumatic event, or suicidal behavior).
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, almost 15 million American adults suffer from some major form of depression, and 40 million have anxiety disorders.